Never was a movie more aptly named. Creep, released in 2014 by Blumhouse Productions, sinks its teeth into you before you realize it even has teeth and then, even after it’s over, doesn’t quite let you go. A beautiful blend of the macabre, the real, and the hilarious, Creep is an unnerving masterpiece of horror that fully earns its 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Hate horror, but love comedy? Love horror, but hate comedy? This bizarre clash of genres is a delightfully grotesque smash-up of the two. It’ll make you feel as uncomfortable as often as you are amused, and as amused as often as you are terrified. And not in a campy way, thank the heavens.
The plot is masterfully simple and, at times, unendurably close to home. Creep follows the story of Aaron, a young man low on cash who answers a Craigslist ad looking for a filming service. Aaron travels to a house set in the woods of a mountain town and encounters Josef, a terminally ill cancer patient who asks him to film him throughout the day to leave a record behind for his unborn son. A heartwarming story, to be sure, and Aaron readily agrees- but as time ticks on, Josef develops into a character full of uncomfortable quirks that eventually feel not just humorous but potentially unsafe.
Found-footage films always have the potential to offer a greater scare due to their documentary realism and their believable jerks and twitches. However, found-footage horror movies don’t always deliver, and sometimes even stumble over their overly simplistic style. Creep never stumbles. Creep makes you stumble. You watch Creep through the eyes of Aaron, a relatable character whose shoes most of us could fit comfortably. Because Aaron is filming for most of the movie, his cringes become your cringes, and his discomfort becomes your discomfort. You may laugh at Aaron and his interactions with Josef at times, but for the most part… you become Aaron. And that, more than anything perhaps, is what lingers with you most.
No, but really. It’s hysterical. You’ll laugh more than you ever expected to laugh while watching Creep, and it’ll be none of that campy horror movie humor that we’ve come to expect from modern media. Oh, no. Creep relies on its ability to convey realistically uncomfortable situations and plants you firmly into them, both to your bemusement and, sometimes, to your terror. Be warned, however. The same humor that makes Creep into a relatable and potentially heartwarming story also makes Creep the ultimate horror movie. You won’t forget when you laughed. And you won’t forget when that laughter turned into open-mouthed, appalling disbelief.
Our recommendation? Give it a go. If you’re not a horror movie fan, this is the perfect movie to at least dip your toes into the genre. And, regardless of genre, it’s a genuinely well-crafted piece. Nothing feels out of place in Creep because everything feels out of place, and it takes a truly exceptional director to make a movie like that happen, especially with the limited resources that found-footage offers. It’s all about atmosphere, and in Creep, that atmosphere is masterfully executed. No pun intended.